Surely I have stooped to a new low. I am not a fan of Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, but I love his recent quote; “Finally a form of activism Americans can fully embrace, affecting social change through the act of eating a fast food sandwich.” Of course this quote was the result of the Chick-Fil-A fiasco last week when Dan Cathy, voiced his belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. According to Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A, he was simply agreeing with the Biblical definition of a family unit; he was not trying to start a fight. Chick-Fil-A is a family owned and family run business that is not a Christian Business so to speak, but rather a successful organization that operates on biblical principles. In the statement, Mr. Cathy was not criticizing gay marriages, instead, he was just sharing his belief. The account infuriated many on the left who immediately declared Cathy’s statement a form of opposition to same sex marriages. Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, even became involved by trying to block Chick-fil-A’s expansion in the city and declared that Chick-fil-A’s values were not Chicago’s values. As a result, in an effort to rouse the “right,” Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, called for a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day that proved to be extremely successful. Ultimately, the subtle act of buying a chicken sandwich became a form of activism that many people could easily embrace. Those in line at the fast food restaurant on Wednesday were a diversified collection of people who believed that in America, citizens should still have the right to share their beliefs, values, and opinions with out being condemned. In other words, it was a simple way for regular folks to stand up for what they believe.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to watch families on the beach from all walks of life, and from various parts of the country. I observed an assortment of dads with moms, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins playing, swimming and just having fun on the beautiful South Carolina Coast. According to several articles I recently read, the family endures, but the traditional family has changed. To further increase my knowledge, I studied the 2010 census, which is very confusing, and discovered that 66% of households consist of married couples and, or, single parents. Husband and wife households now make up 48% of all households which is down 4% from the 2000 census. It was also noted that 2010 was the first time husband and wife households have fallen below 50% in America. In my reading, I also learned that opposite sex, unmarried households, increased by 40 % since 2000, and same sex households increased by 80% since the 2000 census. However, it should be noted that same sex households presently make up less than 1% of all households in the United States. Other articles I read noted that in families today two parents or the single parent is working outside the home, as opposed to the traditional mom staying home with the children. Also of interest was that most children are being born to older parents, families have fewer children, and there is a historical high in single parent homes. No doubt, the American family may have its problems, but I am convinced that the time-honored family continues to be resilient and strong. In fact, the American Family remains the foundation of this great country.
Thinking back on the plethora of families I watched on the beach, and the Chick-Fil-A debacle, it reminded me of one of my favorite stories. Perhaps you recall the account of Joshua when he gathered his people together to remind them of how God had blessed them since leaving Egypt. He then informed his fellow countrymen of a decision they had to make. The people could go the way of the world and forget all that God had done for them, or they could follow God’s laws and be obedient. Joshua took a stand and announced that no matter what others decided, he and his family would serve God. It was a simple statement of belief and conviction. Several thousand years later, the story is the same. No matter the time or the situation, individuals have distinct values, beliefs, and choices to make. As a community and a country we can stoop to the world’s standards or we can resolve to be like Joshua. We can take a stand by eating a chicken sandwich, casting our ballot in an election, or rebelling against the ugly litter along the roadside. There are countless ways to stand up for our beliefs. In fact it was citizens just like us who stood their ground throughout the history of this country that helped make America the most powerful nation in the world. Today more than ever, strong citizens with sound principles are needed to stand up for their beliefs and convictions. There is a choice. The people will stand for what they believe or our standards will continue to stoop to a new low. The decision is ours and I am standing.